ABU DHABI // David Ferrer, the Spaniard who reached the final of this year's Dubai Open, will replace the injured Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at this week's Capitala World Tennis Championship. Tsonga, ranked No 10 in the world, sustained an unspecified injury while training in Doha earlier this week and has been advised by his coaching staff to rest ahead of next month's Australian Open, the tournament he reached the final of in 2008.
Ferrer, the World No 17, will be making his debut in Abu Dhabi and joins compatriot and Davis Cup-winning teammate Rafael Nadal at Zayed Sports City's International Tennis Complex. He faces Russian Nikolay Davydenko in tomorrow's opening match. "It's great to have the opportunity to play in Abu Dhabi and I am very much looking forward to getting the season under way and joining some of the best players in the world for this tournament," said Ferrer.
"Davydenko is always a tough opponent, particularly considering how well he has been playing lately, and I'm looking forward to playing him again." Should Ferrer overcome Davydenko, he will face world No 2 Nadal in Friday's final four after the six-time grand slam winner received a bye. "Rafa and I are great friends," said Ferrer. "It would be fantastic to meet him in the semi-final. "Rafa said the stadium atmosphere in Abu Dhabi last year was very exciting and he received a lot of support from the Spanish fans.
"It's something I'm looking forward to experiencing." Tsonga, who would have been making his Middle East debut, said while he was saddened to miss out. He is keen to compete here in the future: "I am extremely disappointed not to be able to participate due to injury and hope I will participate in years to come." @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org